Iron pair Clark and Ochieng will be out to haunt former club
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 September 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
Josh Coulson discussed coming up against two old team-mates and how O’s have a job to do
Leyton Orient could come up against a couple of familiar faces this evening when they make the trip to Braintree Town in the National League.
After trialing out with the Iron during the summer, former O’s academy graduates Henry Ochieng and Michael Clark signed up with Bradley Quinton’s team ahead of the new campaign.
The move has gone well for 21-year-old Clark, who has made eight appearances – including seven starts – this season.
Ochieng has not got as much game time, but still made two starts and given his age, only 19, he will hope to continue to develop at Braintree.
This evening at Cressing Road, the two ex-Orient youngsters could line up against their old club after they were both released on March 19 by the E10 outfit.
During the 2017/18 season, they were team-mates of O’s Josh Coulson and while the centre back is looking forward to seeing the pair, he knows there is a job to do.
“It will be nice. Obviously what happened to them happened and I think they were a bit unlucky with what was going on at the club at the time,” Coulson said.
“They are two young lads who are really good players and hopefully they can kick on, but they are at Braintree at the minute and we will go there to win.”
Both Clark and Ochieng, especially the former, were unfortunate with the amount of change and competition for places at Orient last season.
One-time East Thurrock United loanee Clark impressed during the back end of the 2016/17 campaign in a number of positions.
Yet after signing a professional deal in the same summer as the takeover, the centre back was unable to kick on - initially under old head coach Steve Davis.
Even following an encouraging display in a 1-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Cup on October 17, Clark failed to keep his spot in the team.
Then when Justin Edinburgh took over at Orient a month later, he decided others were in front of the ball-playing ace and after a loan spell at National League South side East Thurrock, the talented centre back departed Brisbane Road by mutual consent.
It was a similar story for Ochieng, although he did get more chances under Davis and then played in Edinburgh’s first match in charge.
He failed to make a big enough impression though, and also left a couple of months before the end of the 2017/18 campaign.
The young pair may now get an opportunity to show O’s they were wrong to let them go, if boss Quinton selects them tonight, and it is an intriguing subplot to the main event this evening – can Orient beat their previous best start to a league season?